Published On: Sun, Aug 18th, 2019

Whitehall chiefs warn return of HARD BORDER in Ireland ‘inevitable’ under no deal Brexit | UK | News

A leaked Whitehall report suggests Mr Johnson’s hopes of using technological solutions and a “can-do spirit” to avoid a hard border would soon prove “unsustainable”. The so-called Yellowhammer document warns of civil disorder when border communities respond with “direct action” and road blockades. Yellowhammer reveals there will be “no new checks, with limited exceptions” on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

It says measures will be introduced to “avoid an immediate risk of a return to a hard border on the UK side” but predicts this is “likely to prove unsustainable because of significant economic, legal and biosecurity risks and no effective mitigations to address this will be available”.

According to the leaked document, no deal would “severely disrupt trade”.

It says: “The expectation is that some businesses will stop trade to avoid paying the tariff, which will make them uncompetitive, or to avoid the risk of trading illegally, while others will continue to trade, but experience higher costs which may be passed on to consumers.”

It states: “The agri-food sector will be the hardest hit, given its reliance on highly integrated cross-border supply chains and high tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade.

“Disruption to key sectors and job losses are likely to result in protests and direct action with road blockages.”

The classified document also claims no deal would lead to a booming black market which would be “particularly severe in the border communities, where both criminal and dissident groups already operate”.

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It says: “Price and other differentials are likely to lead to the growth of the illegitimate economy.

“This will be particularly severe in border communities where criminal and dissident groups already operate with greater freedom.”

Officials have warned a no deal Brexit could put 40,000 jobs at risk in Northern Ireland with work in industries such as agri-food and haulage “disappearing overnight”.

A senior Whitehall source told The Sunday Times: “This is not Project Fear — this is the most realistic assessment of what the public face with no deal. These are likely, basic, reasonable scenarios — not the worst case.”

But Government sources claim the paper was leaked by Remain-supporting former ministers to disrupt Mr Johnson’s meetings with EU leaders next week.

An insider said: “It has been deliberately leaked by a former minister in an attempt to influence discussions with EU leaders.

“Those obstructing preparation are no longer in Government, £2 billion of extra funding already made available and Whitehall has been stood up to actually do the work through the daily ministerial meetings. The entire posture of Government has changed.”

Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster who is coordinating no deal planning, also hit back on Twitter saying: “We don’t normally comment on leaks – but a few facts – Yellowhammer is a worst case scenario.”

He said: ”very significant steps have been taken in the last three weeks to accelerate Brexit planning”.

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